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Limited evidence of a shared genetic relationship between C-reactive protein levels and cognitive function in older UK adults of European ancestry

Packer, A., Corbett, A., Arathimos, R. , Ballard, C., Aarsland, D., Hampshire, A., Dima, D. ORCID: 0000-0002-2598-0952, Creese, B., Malanchini, M. & Powell, T. R. (2023). Limited evidence of a shared genetic relationship between C-reactive protein levels and cognitive function in older UK adults of European ancestry. Frontiers in Dementia, 2, article number 1093223. doi: 10.3389/frdem.2023.1093223


Introduction: Previous studies have shown associations between cognitive function and C-reactive protein (CRP) levels in older adults. Few studies have considered the extent to which a genetic predisposition for higher CRP levels contributes to this association.

Methods: Data was analyzed from 7,817 UK participants aged >50 years as part of the PROTECT study, within which adults without dementia completed a comprehensive neuropsychological battery. We constructed a polygenic risk score (PRS-CRP) that explained 9.61% of the variance in serum CRP levels (p = 2.362 × 10−7) in an independent cohort. Regressions were used to explore the relationship between PRS-CRP and cognitive outcomes.

Results: We found no significant associations between PRS-CRP and any cognitive measures in the sample overall. In older participants (>62 years), we observed a significant positive association between PRS-CRP and self-ordered search score (i.e., spatial working memory).

Conclusion: Whilst our results indicate a weak positive relationship between PRS-CRP and spatial working memory that is specific to older adults, overall, there appears to be no strong effects of PRS-CRP on cognitive function.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2023 Packer, Corbett, Arathimos, Ballard, Aarsland, Hampshire, Dima, Creese, Malanchini and Powell. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Publisher Keywords: inflammation, C-reactive protein, cognitive function, polygenic risk score, aging, PROTECT study
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH426 Genetics
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
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